Bought house, few electric problems/questions


Old 11-11-06, 07:19 PM
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Bought house, few electric problems/questions

I just bought a house that was built somewhere around 1900, and has a few electric problems. I had a electrician out because of a stupid move I pulled (apparently the wires on an electric stove are still hot, even with the switch off, who would have thunk. I needed to replace the coil and thought that I could still use the stove top until I got a replacement, plugged it in and lots of sparks, then darkness. Didn't trip any breakers but disconnected the neutral wire at the weatherhead. Replaced the stove with a gas model
Anyways, while he was looking around he had a few recommendations for me. Let me first explain how the elec. gets to the house: Goes from street pole, to pole in my yard (elec. company said its my pole), down pole to meter, up pole and branches to house, to garage, to night light attached to pole.
1) I know main line running down house needs to be replaced, frayed and outer insulation worn off where goes into house.
2) only one wire runs from meter and is spliced three ways at top of pole, no main disconnect on pole (so he says it should have a main shut off there).
3) since pole is rotten at top, run wire from street to house, and put meter on house, then run wire to garage and put the panel as a sub panel.
4) Main panel in house is 100 amp, recommends a 150 or 200 amp (said it would be cheaper to do it while replacing main line into house)
- My questions are, I know that the main line down the house needs to be replaced, but would it actually be alot more to replace the panel (not that I have a problem now with 100 amp) at a later date if need be. They quoted me $500 to move line to house, put in new meter box and connect into main panel. $750 when they realized they have to run the wire back up the house to go over to garage and use existing overhead wire. To upgrade panel to 150 amp $1700 and to upgrade to 200amp $2300. Why would it cost and extra $500 to put in a 200 amp panel, isn't the wiring all the same, just a larger main breaker? ( I do plan on getting a few more quotes before work is done)
- Would it cost considerably more to run the wires underground (I would do the trenching, even lying the lines if they tell me what size wiring is needed) from pole to house, and from house to garage.
- I have a second one car garage the got converted into a work shop, it currently has one wire 110v, running from garage panel (down on outside of garage wall exposed, that can't be good) with a 20 amp breaker. It feeds one outlet and one light. If I wanted more power out there would I have to install a subpanel, or could I run another wire on another breaker (both in conduit)?

I'm sure there will be more questions in the future, working on this old house (need to renovate upstairs). But I do appreciate you guys looking over my questions.

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Old 11-11-06, 07:28 PM
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Get more quotes.

I recommend a 200 amp main panel, based on what you are telling me. The power company will run the wire from the main pole to the house, and your electrician will run from the connection on the house (weatherhead) to the meter and into the house.

You need to either put a sub panel into the garage/workshop, or make the circuit to that building a multi-wire circuit. You are NOT allowed to have two separate and distinct circuits to that building. I recommend a sub panel, since you are calling the building a workshop.
Old 11-12-06, 04:33 PM
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Get #s for an underground service. 2-Disconnects there.
1-To th house and 1- to the garage.

You probably will have to remove/repair the pole anyway.

Pick away at it now, then change when you have the money.
As In any realestate deal, If you plan to stay, it's worth it.
otherwise...Way the options.
Old 11-12-06, 05:30 PM
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Overhead or underground?

If you run directly to the house from the last utility owned pole the distance to be covered will decide whether you need to go over head or under ground. The maximum length of a service drop is contained in the state regulatory agency's tariffs.
Yard Pole is the name used in many parts of the country for the customer owned distribution point pole. Make sure that the yard pole is actually unusable by asking your power utility if it is still serviceable. Theirs is the only opinion that matters. If they will accept its continued use you're all set to keep it in service. If the utility finds it's condition unacceptable get a quote on replacing your yard pole for comparison with the quote to go underground. Underground is better practice but more expensive in most cases.

Are you on well water? How far are you from the nearest fire station and is it staffed around the clock? If your fire station is staffed by call out firefighters then it will take five or more minutes for them to be en route to your home. What that has to do with electrical work is that you may be required by your local government or your insurance carrier to have your meter remote from your buildings. If you have well water and the water would be used for first aid firefighting it would be wise to have the service located at least thirty feet from the buildings which includes a separate disconnect just for the well pump. The pump disconnect is specifically allowed to be remote from the rest of the service disconnects that make up the service. A single meter is allowed to supply service conductors to an out building on residential property and several buildings on agricultural property in addition to the home under the US NEC.

If you are somewhat remote from help consider having disconnects for each building at the remote service point. That way you can still have power for heat and light to shelter your family if there is a fire in your home. If the service disconnecting means for the entire property is located on one of the buildings a fire in that structure will deprive the entire premise of power.
Old 11-12-06, 06:34 PM
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Thanks for the responses.

The house is right near the road, and only about 50 - 75 +- feet from the pole. I was thinking of running underground because of the snow/ice storms we get up here Northern NY, and there are a few large old maples in the front. The elec. company was out and said they would relocate the line to the house (would have to T off the street wires because of the maple being between the pole and house). The garage is about 20 feet from the house.

I would like to get rid of the pole, it is rotten at the top and looks like the light may fall off sometime soon.

Is running underground a much larger expense then going overhead, I would dig the trench. (I know you can't give real figures without knowing the area and looking at it)

Also, why would it cost $500 more to install a 200 amp service compared to 150? And if I decide to stay with my 100amp service, I can use the same main service line, right, or would I have to have a larger one put in when I upgrade my main panel if I find it necessary.

I had to replace an outlet box, in the bedroom on the second floor and I just found out that the 20amp breaker that controls the lights and outlets in the basement, also controls the lights and outlets for the second floor, two bedrooms. Someone put a outlet in the hallway, and right on the other side of the wall was another outlet, both boxes wouldn't fit, so they pushed the one in the bedroom out of the wall about 1/2 inch and left it like that.
Old 11-12-06, 06:48 PM
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You've just begun. Keep smiling.

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